A Guide on How to Clean Your Windows

A Guide on How to Clean Your Windows

August 29, 2017
Martin Whitmore, President of US Window & Door
Vinyl Windows

A home’s windows can enhance its appearance, or they can detract from it. Dirty windows aren’t just unsightly; they can cause damage in various ways. In this guide, homeowners will get a few tips on how to clean your windows.

Cleaning Window Frames

Is there a smudge or some dirt on a window frame? It’s easy to clean with a mild, non-abrasive cleaner and water. Never use an acidic cleaner, as it can damage the frame and make it harder to learn how to clean wood windows. Try these cleaners in inconspicuous areas first, and wipe the area dry when finished.

Caring for the Glass

Whether a window comes with standard or energy-efficient glass, periodic cleaning is important to ensure performance and continued clarity. The best way to clean glass is with water and mild soap; when finished, rinse the window completely with clean water and wipe it dry with a soft cloth. When learning how to clean your windows, never use any of the following, as they can damage the glass or the insulating seal: petroleum-based cleaners, caustic agents, abrasive pads, putty knives or razor blades and pressurized water

Caring for Screens

When learning how to clean window screens, it’s important to only use a soft brush, water, and mild dish detergent. When the screens are clean, rinse them with clear water and allow them to dry naturally.

Patio Window and Door Maintenance Tips

When learning how to clean your windows and patio doors, it’s best to lubricate the moving parts at least once per year. In areas with salty air, it should be done more often. Check the weatherstripping regularly to ensure an airtight seal, and periodically vacuum sliding door tracks to remove debris and dirt.

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Ensuring Proper Door and Window Drainage

Nature can sometimes be harsh, but learning How to clean your windows and doors doesn’t have to be. Patio doors and windows are designed with a drainage system to protect the interior of the home, but this system must be maintained to ensure sufficient drainage. Periodically inspect the holes on the bottom rails to ensure they’re free of debris and dirt; use a brush to clear the openings if required. It’s a good idea to inspect the weep holes before storm season starts.

Caring for Vinyl and Fiberglass Windows

Although vinyl windows are designed for years of worry-free use, they still need occasional maintenance. When learning How to clean fiberglass windows, users should keep a few things in mind. Contaminants and debris should be cleaned immediately with a bristle brush. Next, wash the surface with warm water, a gentle detergent, and an absorbent cloth. Avoid using acidic or abrasive cleaners as they may damage the frame’s finish.

Dealing With Exterior Condensation Problems

Milgard Style Line Arch Windows

Insulating energy-efficient glass can cause condensation under certain conditions. While it doesn’t happen with every window, it’s common in certain seasons. Exterior condensation is the result of the same conditions that cause frost and dew to appear on cars that are parked outside during the night. Less efficient windows typically don’t get condensation, because the home’s heat escapes and keeps the glass warm enough to prevent it.

Inside Condensation

Condensation on the inside of a door or window may occur because of low air exchange and high humidity in the home. This can make it difficult to learn How to clean your windows, especially if there are gaps where drafts can get in. Air exchange, in most cases, is enough to prevent condensation. However, today’s high-efficiency windows are airtight, which reduces heat loss and airflow. To fight condensation from the inside, reduce or eliminate moisture sources such as aquariums, plants, and humidifiers. It’s also a good idea to increase ventilation by opening windows for a little while each day, especially when cooking, doing laundry, or showering. Leave shades up a few inches to allow air to flow between them and the window.

What Affects Condensation and Makes Windows Harder to Clean

When learning How to clean your windows, it’s important to consider the factors listed below.

Size: Large windows are more likely to show condensation or get dirty quickly.

Location: Minor differences in outdoor conditions can cause dew to form on certain windows, even those that are side by side. If a window is protected from the wind, it’s more likely to exhibit condensation. However, it will be easier to learn How to clean your windows in these cases, because they won’t get as dirty.

Circulation: As mentioned above, a lack of wind can increase the chance of condensation. Foliage, building outcroppings, and windbreaks can cause condensation, but proper air circulation can reduce it.

Screens: When a window is protected by an outside screen, it may show condensation differently than screenless windows under similar conditions.

Inside shades: By opening interior blinds or shades, homeowners can cut condensation and allow greater heat transfer to the outside of the home.

Weather shifts: When learning How to clean your windows, it’s important to consider the weather. Condensation and dirt can be a one-time or seasonal event. When it’s hot outside, the temperature of the window panes is typically above the dew point; the same applies to the coldest parts of winter. During the transitional phases (think spring and fall), condensation is more likely to occur.

Moisture between the panes: When figuring out How to clean your windows, it’s important to pay attention to condensation that builds up between the panes on multi-pane windows. If this occurs, don’t try to clean it; call a window repair specialist as soon as possible.

Learning How to clean your windows of dirt, debris and condensation can be difficult, but it’s easier for those who consider the information listed here. With proper care, fiberglass and vinyl windows can last for years to come.